Drone Warfare

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by GrauGeist, May 18, 2014.

  1. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    #1 GrauGeist, May 18, 2014
    Last edited: May 18, 2014
    As modern as the title suggests, the history of the "drone" goes further back than WWII. The word "drone" has become a common catch-word that seems to cover all types of unmanned aircraft, but there is certainly two distinct types: the UAV type, that's used for reconnaissance and the Guided Weapon (like cruise missile) that's obviously used to strike a target remotely.

    While there were several remote operated aircraft employed during the course of the WWII, by both sides, it didn't become the highly technical innovation until recent years.

    All this has it's roots in the Kettering Bug, which was designed and tested in the closing months of WWI. It was designed to be literally a flying bomb built by Dayton-Wright with a gyroscopic guidance system designed by Elmer Sperry. It's 40 hp 4-cylinder engine, built by Ford, enabled it to carry a warload 40 miles (64km) at speeds of 50mph (80kph).

    It was never used in combat, although it was instrumental in guidance system development as well as being the basis of future unmanned types.

    Kettering-Bug-1918[720].jpg

    There were other projects during these years but none were mass produced like the Bug (45 units), though.

    During the interwar years, development of various types moved slowly until the years directly preceding WWII.
     
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  2. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Way cool man, I had no idea!
     
  3. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    I had never heard of this either. Cool!
     
  4. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    WWII saw a wide variety of unmanned aircraft types, from the V-1 to radio-controlled 4 engined bombers.

    While the V-1 (and even the Kettering) may seem like conventional aircraft in some ways, they are considered ancestors of the modern Cruise Missile. Much like the V-2 (A4) rocket is the ancestor of modern ballistic missile systems.

    On the otherhand, aircraft like the U.S. Navy's Interstate TDR type, are true aircraft in the sense of the word and were designed to carry a variety of munitions to a destination, delivering them in a fatal dive.

    The TDR was an interesting aircraft for the fact that it did have a conventional cockpit that a human could sit in and operate the aircraft, taking off and landing with fixed undercarriage. When the TDR was being prepared for a mission, the cockpit's canopy and windscreen were removed and a flush fairing was placed over the cockpit. Once the TDR lifted off for it's mission, the undercarriage was jettisoned. Once airborn, the TDR was guided to it's target by a "pilot" in a specially equipped TBM Avenger by way of radio and TV links.

    There were 195 TDR aircraft built, yet the TDR-1 was the type used in combat. Out of those 189 TDR-1 delivered for service, only 50 were deployed against Japanese targets in the Pacific theater during WWII.

    The TDR-1 was powered by two Lycoming O-435-2 engines, with a cruising speed of 140mph (225kph) and a range of 425 miles (684km). It was designed to carry either a 2,000lb (910kg) bomb or a Mark 13 torpedo (2,216lb - 1,005kg)

    A TDR-1 in flight, carrying a 2,000lb bomb
    Note the pre-war or early-war U.S. insignia and tail markings.

    Interstate_TDR-1[550].jpg

    A TDR-1 being prepped for a mission in the Pacific
    Note the fairing being placed over the cockpit and the TV camera and equipment in it's nose.

    TDR-1_PTO[540].jpg

    TDR-1 seen in flight with a pilot at the controls
    TDR-1-1[550].jpg

    A specially equipped TBM-1C "guide" aircraft
    TBM-1C[550].jpg

    For more information on the TDR-1: Interstate TDR - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and take note of the book references at the bottom of the page, if you wish to learn more!

    I'll add to this thread as time permits, unless someone else has a type they'd like to contribute :)
     
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  5. pbehn

    pbehn Well-Known Member

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    I believe one of the Kennedys was killed in a B17 converted to be flown remotely, it blew up over south England before he baled out.
     
  6. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    Although most of the initial efforts were with B-17s, apparently according to wiki, it was a BQ-8 (ex-PB4Y, ex-B-24). see:

    Project Aphrodite Operation Aphrodite - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  7. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    #7 fubar57, May 19, 2014
    Last edited: May 19, 2014
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  8. yulzari

    yulzari Active Member

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    Yes it blew up just by my father's village of Blythburgh. Bits of it are still lying around (little bits).
     
  9. cherry blossom

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    One type of drone not much mentioned above were anti-aircraft targets. The DH 82B Queen Bee target may have actually given rise to the name drone by some complicated alchemy and 400 were built www.lightaircraftassociation.co.uk/2012/Magazine/June/QueenBee.pdf. However, this is dwarfed by the 15,000 OQ-2 Radioplanes built in WW2 Radioplane OQ-2 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia so I attach a photograph of its manufacture. The German equivalent was the Argus As 292 Argus As 292 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and Aufklärungsgerät 'Fernfeuer' Argus As 292 and this may be the first UAV for reconnaissance
     

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  10. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Do you realize that is Marilyn Monroe, when she was Norma Jean ?
     
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